Google Desktop not so desktop anymore

by Ragnar Schierholz

When I first saw the Google Desktop search, I was wondering how secure such a system would be for access from the outside. Then I was told it would be all ok, only the local user could submit a query and/or access the index and files. Still I wasn't quite convinced and stayed away from it.

Now, with the latest version 3, my worries have been confirmed. EFF: Google Copies Your Hard Drive! Not only does it allow you to query remote Google Desktop instances, no, it even makes copies of the index on Google servers so you can search other desktops even if they are switched off. Allegedly all files are sent in full, but I can hardly imagine that my whole disk will be sent.

"Google says it is not yet scanning the files it copies from your hard drive in order to serve targeted advertising, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility, and Google's current privacy policy appears to allow it."

I don't think so...

Comments

I used XFriend for a while but finally I decided to manage my document in good old Windows :)

I don't search much for documents.

Daniel Seiler, 2006-02-10

One more reason to switch to MacOS and "Spotlight":)

Sebastian Rink, 2006-02-10

Then again one wonders how a switched off desktop should be searched without its data duplicated on another machine. No surprise that Google is rather taciturn on this.

Haiko Hebig, 2006-02-10

T = 0 : read article
T = 1 : "Google Desktop Search has been succesfully removed from you computer"
T = 2 : Did it really ???? ...

Wolfgang Schwerber, 2006-02-10

What a perfect target for mischief and malware. I've already removed from two user desktops due to it breaking the browser.

Dennis Ellison, 2006-02-10

Google seems to shift from "be not evil" to "hear no evil, see no evil" mode, huh?

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-02-10

On the Linux desktop, use Beagle http://beaglewiki.org.

Justin Freeman, 2006-02-10

There are a few aspects to it:

1) If I did understand it right it is optional. So you can switch it off. Best would be in the installer: opt not to switch it on

2) Google still has the benefit of the doubt to be able to design a secure system (of course you passwords are critical)

3) It is a nightmare: With the US legal system a subpoena (that is just a request from a party in a lawsuite) should be sufficient to gain access to all that files.... not speaking about government "wire tapping"

So how much benefit would the system bring to offset the nightmare?

Stephan H. Wissel, 2006-02-11

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